In State of the Union coverage, media adopted term “personal accounts”

The media coverage and analysis of President Bush's February 2 State of the Union address and the Democratic response indicated that the Bush administration's pressure on reporters -- to use the term “personal accounts” rather than “private accounts” in discussing Bush's social security privatization plan -- is working. As Media Matters for America has noted, polling shows that the public responds less favorably to the term “private accounts,” a term that Bush himself has used in the past.

A Media Matters analysis found that 18 media hosts, correspondents, and commentators used the White House-approved term “personal accounts,” while 13 referred to “private accounts.”

On the network news broadcasts, only one correspondent used the term “private accounts,” while 8 hosts, correspondents, and commentators adopted Bush's preferred term, “personal accounts.” On the cables, 10 used the term “personal accounts,” while 12 used the term “private accounts.”

Media Matters monitored all discussion of Bush's address and the Democrats' response on FOX News, CNN, and MSNBC from 5 p.m. February 2 until 12 a.m. February 3, as well as ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News on February 2, and ABC's Good Morning America, CBS' Early Show, and NBC's Today on February 3. Post-speech and Democratic response coverage on the networks, which ran from 10:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., was also included.

“private accounts,” “privatize,” or “privatization” Used both terms “personal accounts”
FOX News Democratic strategist Bob Beckel
FOX News co-host Sean Hannity
FOX host John Gibson
FOX News co-host Alan Colmes
NPR senior correspondent Juan Williams
NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson
Roll Call executive editor Morton M. Kondracke
FOX News managing editor and anchor Brit Hume
FOX News correspondent Brian Wilson
FOX News chief White House correspondent Carl Cameron
FOX News TV and radio host Tony Snow
FOX News White House correspondent Wendell Goler
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich
CNN CNN host Wolf Blitzer
CNN host Paula Zahn
CNN White House correspondent Dana Bash
Former presidential adviser David Gergen
CNN senior White House correspondent John King CNN host Judy Woodruff
MSNBC Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen
Newsweek managing editor Jon Meacham
NBC News correspondent David Shuster
Wall Street Journal political editor John Harwood
NBC News Mike Viqueira
NBC host Tim Russert
MSNBC political analyst Ron Reagan Jr.
NBC News political analyst Howard Fineman
MSNBC host Keith Olbermann
MSNBC host Chris Matthews (referred to “personal” accounts 12 times, “private” accounts twice)
NBC News White House correspondent David Gregory
Actor and conservative activist Ron Silver
NBC White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell
MSNBC host and former Representative Joe Scarborough (R-FL)
ABC ABC News chief White House correspondent Terry Moran ABC This Week host George Stephanopoulos
ABC World News Tonight anchor Peter Jennings
ABC News congressional correspondent Linda Douglass
ABC News congressional correspondent Linda Douglass
ABC News White House Correspondent Kate Snow
ABC Good Morning America co-anchor Charlie Gibson
CBS CBS News national correspondent Thalia Assuras
CBS News business correspondent Anthony Mason
CBS News chief White House correspondent John Roberts
CBS News White House Correspondent Bill Plante
NBC NBC host Tim Russert
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams
NBC News Senior White House correspondent David Gregory
Former House majority leader Dick Armey (R-TX)
Former Senate majority leader George Mitchell (D-ME)